According to a July 2016 report by the U.N. Secretary General, Iranian firms participated in a defense trade show in Iraq last March, in potential violation of U. N. Security Council resolution 2231. Under the resolution, prior approval is required by the Security Council for any arms transfer to or from Iran; none was sought. What’s more, one of the firms participating in the trade show, the Defense Industries Organization (DIO), remains on the U.N.’s blacklist – even following the nuclear agreement. The report concludes that Iraqi authorities “should have frozen all of the entity’s funds, other financial assets and economic resources” pursuant to resolution 2231. However, two months following the report’s publication, no action has been taken to address these apparent violations.
The Fifth Iraqi Defense, Security, and Military Exposition (IQDEX) hosted over 100 companies in Baghdad on March 5-8, 2016, including six Iranian entities. The U.N. report specifically references DIO’s participation and includes a picture of the firm’s booth at the trade show. DIO is controlled by Iran’s Ministry of Defense Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) and, in addition to producing a range of military equipment, has been connected to gas centrifuge production and to Iran’s missile program.
Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), boasted that MODAFL and its affiliates “actively [took] part in the Iraq Defense Exhibition” and that a number of ambassadors visited the Iranian showcase. Al-Monitor reported that the items on display included “twinned combat boats, powerful sea engines, unmanned aerial vehicles, various mortars, different rockets and artillery systems, defense items such as advanced systems capable of identifying chemical and radioactive elements, as well as systems capable of designing and producing helicopter and reconnaissance aircraft.”
Other Iranian entities listed as attending IQDEX include Marine Industries Organization, Aviation Industries Organization, and National Geographical Organization, also known as the Armed Forces Geographical Organization. All are subject to European Union, Canadian, Japanese, and U.S. sanctions for ties to nuclear and missile proliferation. A sixth Iranian entity, Shahid Meisami Group, was also listed as an exhibitor. Less is known about this group, which does not appear on any publicly available restricted party list. In 2003, an Iranian resistance group linked Shahid Meisami to chemical and biological weapon-related work and claimed that it housed the Biological Research Center of the Special Industries Organization, a DIO subsidiary that is still subject to U.N. and national sanctions.
The U.N. Secretary General has sought clarification on the trade show from both Iraq and Iran. Predictably, Iran claims that it did not violate resolution 2231 because no actual arms were transferred. Iraq’s response is more worrisome. Iraqi representatives told the United Nations that the terms of the 14 page resolution are “lengthy, technical and confusing.” However, the resolution states clearly that countries must “take the necessary measures to prevent, except as decided otherwise by the U.N. Security Council in advance on a case-by-case basis, the supply, sale, or transfer of arms or related materiel from Iran” until five years following the adoption of the nuclear agreement (October 2020).
Media coverage of the report around the time of its release this summer focused on the Secretary General’s expression of concern that recent Iranian ballistic missile launches were “not consistent with the constructive spirit demonstrated by” the nuclear agreement. The report’s coverage of Iranian arms exports that appear to constitute violations of resolution 2231, including Iran’s high-level participation at IQDX, received scant attention. Nor does the Security Council appear to have taken any action following the report, some two months after its release. Indeed, the evidence is mounting that there is no appetite for robust enforcement of the nuclear agreement and its implementing resolution, less than one year from when they took effect.
 “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Section V paragraph 32.
 U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), Annex B, paragraph 6b, July 20, 2015.
 “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Section II paragraph 10.
 “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Section VI paragraph 35.
 “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Section II paragraph 11, Section VI figure IV.
 “Baghdad Exhibit featuring Iran defense, military capabilities,” Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), March 5, 2016.
 Abbas Qaidaari, “Is Iran becoming a major regional arms producer?” Al-Monitor, March 24, 2016, available at http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/03/iran-weapons-arms-experts-iraq-syria-lebanon.html.
 “Consolidated List of Sanctions,” European Union, available at http://eeas.europa.eu/topics/sanctions-policy/8442/consolidated-list-of-sanctions_en.
 “Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations, Government of Canada, available at http://www.international.gc.ca/sanctions/countries-pays/iran_sema_regulations-iran_lmes_reglement.aspx?lang=eng&pedisable=true.
 “End User List, August 2016, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), available at http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/anpo/law_document/tutatu/kaisei/20160329_3.pdf.
 “Press Briefing by Soona Samsami and Alireza Jafarzadeh,” National Council of Resistance of Iran, available at http://www.iranwatch.org/library/ncri-iranian-regimes-programs-biological-weapons-5-15-03.
 “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Section II paragraph 12.
 U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), Annex B, paragraph 6e, July 20, 2015.
 “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Section II paragraph 8.